Conditional use permit approved for Calif. biomass power plant

By Erin Voegele | December 28, 2012

A proposed 2 MW biomass power plant in near Lake Tahoe, Calif., is one step closer to fruition. In late December, the Placer County Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for the project and certified the environmental impact report for the proposed facility.

According to information published by the county, the Cabin Creek plant would use a gasification technology to convert locally-sourced woody biomass into power. The project includes the construction of an 11,000-square foot building and a 1-acre fuel storage area. 

The permit filed with Placer County specifies that forest thinning practices have been employed in the country for many years, and that the resulting biomass has, to date, been burned in open piles, creating water and air pollution. As a result, Placer County established the Wildfire Protection and Biomass Utilization Program, which aims to reduce the risk of wildfires, protect local citizens and visitors from wildfires, find beneficial users for excess biomass in the county and improve air quality. The proposed Cabin Creek Biomass Facility has been developed as part of the program.

A grant from the U.S. DOE is supporting the design and construction of the plant.

The Sequoia Foundation recently released an independent health impact assessment for the proposed projecting, finding the project would result in a net reduction of health risks. For more information on the project, please see “Proposed Calif. plant earns positive health impact assessment.”